The Hawaii Department of Transportation held a blessing Tuesday before improvements begin at Honolulu Harbor.
Construction will focus on Piers 12 and 15, which will house vessels from the Clean Islands Council (CIC) and Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) vessels.
Officials say the move is designed to consolidate marine oil spill and emergency responders.
“Consolidating our environmental response and oil spill response actually creates better efficiency and better response time for us in Hawaii and creates for us a safer harbor system,” said Darrell Young, deputy director for DOT Harbors Division.
Other improvements include a new electrical system, waterlines, dock fenders and mooring bollards along with upgraded lighting, roofing, fencing, and pavement.
The estimated construction cost is $10 million, 100 percent of which will be provided by state funds.
The move is also one of several tenant relocations happening in the first phase of the state’s overall plan to build the Kapalama Container Terminal in Kalihi.
“We’re actually at capacity right now when it comes to containerized cargo in Oahu,” said Young. “The movement at Kapalama allows us to create more containerized space and actually gives us an alternate port should there be a natural disaster such as a earthquake or tsunami or hurricane.”
Construction at the piers is expected to be completed within a year, and the terminal’s completion is anticipated in 2017 or 2018.
It will be built on approximately 90 acres of former Kapalama Military Reservation property, bounded by Sand Island Access Road, Auiki Street, the Young Brothers’ terminal and Kapalama Basin.
“When the project at the Kapalama Container Terminal is done, it should be transparent to people but what the neighbors in the Kalihi Kai area will notice is there’s going to be a great diminishing of truck traffic on Auiki Street which should improve their quality of life as well,” Young said.
The cost of the entire project is estimated at $500 million.
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